Read reviews of Wehr's CDs...

He Plays

It is not his hands I envy
but their strength,
their willingness
to carry the passions of his art.
All silver and lit glass
    his touch:
a clarity of purpose,
an embracing release
of sounds entrapped by ink.
Each note
a moment given to air
   balanced on pointe.
Not his hands --
but their graced surrender
to an art that can know
only those transient moments
   within air and time
   traced in gestures.

J. A. Jablonski
© 2008

Concert Reviews

In the News...

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Making music on the bluff: Pianist Wehr's concert series has stellar reputation. Read more.

Brahms on the Bluff, October 30, 2007: Triple Play

The tumultuous, expressive range of chamber music was explored fully Tuesday night at Duquesne University when pianist David Allen Wehr, violinist Andres Cardenes and cellist Anne Martindale Williams played the three Piano Trios by Johannes Brahms. Energy verged on the ferocious at the start of the first movement of Brahms' Third Piano Trio, but the musicians equally were successful at making us really feel the lyricism and spectral moods, and letting us hear the composer's constant inventiveness. The musicians maintained the same level of technical refinement in Brahms Second Trio. It was characteristic of the integrity of the performance that Anne Martindale Williams' played as forthrightly when doubling the piano's bass as when playing independent lines. Wehr's dynamic and fastidious playing included sensitive dynamics that helped his colleagues to shine. His tempo flexibility, which heightened expression, was always idiomatic and tasteful. The concert concluded with Brahms' First Trio, a "first and last" trio because it was performed, as nearly always, in the composer's reworking of his youthful piece that he did a few years before his death. Cardenes' lustrous string tone was applied with perfect weighting throughout the concert. -- Mark Kanny Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

London Guardian: Wehr belongs to the high-powered school of American pianism, but has a depth and sensitivity rarely encountered.

New York Times: One has the impression of a man who so strongly believes in his ideas that they come across as statements of musical fact.

Pittsburgh Tribune: Wehr's lyrical sensitivity, touch and pacing were heart-warming...masterly control of the instrument.

Washington Post: Wehr's interpretation of the Rachmaninoff Second Concerto had balance, impetus, lyricism, clarity, sensitivity and a sure sense of direction. He produces a lean, resonant sound.

Baltimore Sun: Wehr played the Rachmaninoff Second Concerto with tremendous confidence and panache and with a good deal of romantic freedom.

Houston Chronicle: Wehr gave a very satisfying performance of the Brahms First Concerto, the kind that burrows out a readily accessible nook in the memory. Faced with a work of major length and structural proportions, Wehr shows a remarkable consistent ability to get that long, controlled, yet relaxed arch that makes up so much of the concerto's fabric.

Musical Opinion (London): I was greatly impressed by Wehr's recital, which ranged from poetic Schumann to an intense account of the Barber Sonata and a dazzling show of Liszt.

Musical America: Wehr brought off the taxing semifinal round (the Dvorak Quintet followed by a one-hour solo recital) with color, insight and a straight-arrow intelligence, giving the clear impression that he was unshakable. In Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no. 6, Wehr created a complete world within the confines of this single piece, laying out an almost tangible sense of space and line and projecting individual phrases with a light, firefly touch or with the snap of steel. It brought the hot and somewhat note-weary audience to its feet. When Wehr came out for his Brahms First Concerto, it was already half-past midnight, but the hour seemed immaterial-he played with shape, flexibility and driving propulsion, and held the slow movement under complete control, spinning it down to a beautiful close in the final moments. The finale was taut but never tense. It was a mature, handsomely executed presentation, and deserved the first prize that the jury announced just after 3 o'clock in the morning.

Listin Diairio (Santo Domingo): David Allen Wehr evoked the image of a super-pianist with his delivery of the Grieg Concerto, giving us a flawless interpretation, one with rich personal contributions. Wehr's technical virtuosity has outstanding personality, which allows for pianistic shades and colors. He sustained a subtle skill over the musical argument with astonishing transparency.

Wellington Evening Post: In Mendelssohn's Concerto no. 2, a more sympathetic combination of maestro Decker and pianist Wehr can hardly be imagined. The space that each gave the other in the opening passage, and the beautiful balance they achieved in the warm acoustic of the hall produced a rare feeling of contentment.

The Dominion (Wellington, New Zealand): This was a stunning performance of the Barber Concerto. I am at present reviewing the superb new recording with John Browning, but this performance by David Allen Wehr was fully its equal, and maybe in the slow movement even more poetic and haunting. Wonderful stuff!

La Prensa (Buenos Aires): The work of David Allen Wehr permitted appreciation of the temperament of an interpreter demanding and refined, who articulates each note with exquisite beauty, revealing a spiritual perfectionist. He displayed infallible precision and the shining resources of a great interpreter...a revelation of aristocratic spirituality.

Chautauquan Daily: In Franck's Symphonic Variations, Wehr displayed authority and assurance along with a fine awareness of the music's drama and poetry. His skill and musicianship were applauded by an enthusiastic audience of 5000 and Mr. Wehr obliged with two encores: the Ravel Toccata, played with strength and drive, and the Chopin Nocturne in D-Flat Major, played with a limpid delicacy and tenderness

Stamford Advocate: Wehr played the Brahms Concerto no. 1 with extraordinary awareness of the work's ebb and flow, and of the balance between piano and orchestra. He knew when the soloist must roar with authority and when he must sympathize tenderly with the orchestra. He has fingers of steel, executed the concerto's fantastic trills with astonishing strength, tossed off its heroic octaves with absolutely no concessions to their difficulty, while never losing sight of the music's deeper meaning. The performance brought down the house with cheers, whistles and a roaring ovation from the audience. It was a memorable event in every sense.

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